Friday, September 30, 2005


Went to the climbing gym with our son, hadn't been for a week due to family being in town. Felt rusty, brain didn't work well at sequencing.
Time to throw down a training goal: Cirque of the Towers, Wind Rivers Range, late summer, 2006. I'm not getting any younger or sharper...

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Blowing in the wind

Overnight the neighborhood has changed. So stormy and threatening it seems as if summer never existed. Walks now seem like expeditions for my mother, but she managed two 8 block long ones, one just with my brother.
We had a pleasant family dinner, and then he goes back home tomorrow, early.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

What's up today?

Beloved brother and I had a wonderful walk on Wednesday, down to Gasworks Park, through the Fremnt neighborhood where I showed him the statue of Lenin hauled here from Slovakia, and where we got maple butter at the PCC food co-op. He took us out for dinner last night, to Chinook's as he was hankering for some oysters on the half shell.
Good time had by all.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

My brother's due to arrive any minute...

Early run and workout done, hairdo for my mother done, frantic last minute vacuuming done.
Beloved broterh arrives about 2:00, tired and hungry. Rough times at his work place, and more to come, from the sounds of it. We went out for Mother's walks, got him lunch, caught up on stuff.
We watched Part 2 of the Scorcese piece on Bob Dylan. overall not terrifically illuminating, but fun to watch and listen to.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Madly Monday

My brother is coming for a short visit tomorrow, and leaves on Friday morning. I need to tidy up this house. Beloved son and I took turns trying out the household's latest cleaning technology update, the Shark minivac. We have a history of small vacs going south on us, particularly the flimsy little belts that drive the suckers. Son pointed out the really flimsy belt driving our little R2D2-looking Shark, but it worked on its virgin outing just fine. My mother watched us bustling about with amusement.
Got down to the U-District for errands, got a nice copy of Room with a View. It's a re-read for me, but I'm finding it very funny and full of nice little writing bits, not anything I remember from the first time round.
End of story.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Swell Sunday

Um, 'cause it was no nice out it rendered me the walks in, chatted up the chickens. For once, I got a longer run in, up the hills in Woodland Park and along the lake to the Nautilus. Feeling peppy. Beloved spouse had to jet off to Tucson for bidness, and we had some pleasant IM's during the evening.
Beloved son got back from a weekend of fun with a buddy who's up in Bellingham.
Found this poetry fragment in Joan Didion's heart aching piece about her husband's sudden unexpected death about a year ago:

O the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall
Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed. Hold them cheap
May who ne'er hung there.
I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day.
And I have asked to be
Where no storms come.
(from a poem by Gerald Manley Hopkins)

I find this to be almost indescribably moving.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Weekend meandering

Beloved spouse got the misbehaving car jumped, and asked if I had any errands he could run, oh, say, out towards Northgate, a shopping mall with surrounding big box stores. I happened to mention a need for a small vacuum cleaner, and that a Best Buy consumer emporium was out that way. Off he flew, claiming he just hated to go there, grinning maniacally. I fear he is in the grips of a bout of consumeritis, which is only worsened when the sufferer buys things.
Got a message from beloved spouse via my mother, who came out on the porch to call to me, as I was pruning a tree, that our son had called, although it was really beloved spouse; similar voices. The battery had drained, and he was stuck in the Best Buy parking garage with no jumper cables. so I headed out, had to go back streets due to traffic on the freeway approaches being screwed up because of the stupid Huskies football game. By the time I got there, he'd purchased a new battery and had switched out the old one. We caravaned homeward, burning precious gasoline. He'd gotten a swell looking little Shark vacuum, which looks like a Mini Me version of C3PO.
Yet another paradisical afternoon. Grilled fresh halibut for dinner.
Lovely evening.

Friday, September 23, 2005


Well, dang. Wanted to get in one last climbing gym workout this week, but one of our cars wasn't functioning this morning, so unless I can carpool with someone, I'm out of luck for this afternoon. I'd ride my bike, but the traffic these days freaks me out.
Late-breaking miracle! The friend I have given many rides to called up and said she had a company truck at her disposal, so she came and picked me up to go to the gym. We had a nice easy workout, and I didn't have to drive.
A pleasant evening wore away. Watched an Inspector Linley mystery with my mother to help her keep track of its polt developments. She likes watching PBS Mystery, but is having trouble keeping on top of the stories. The British patter and lousy sound editing - you can hear thunderous footsteps while characters are exchanging important dialogue - making said dialogue very difficult to understand, even for those of us with fairly fleet faculties, all combines to cause confusion. Now I remember my parents watching them together, and my dad grousing about how he couldn't understand much of it, although that was exacerbated by his failing hearing.
So sleepy.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

To the dentist again, full speed ahead

We're heading downtown to our dentist for the repair of yet another crumbling tooth in my mother's head. This has been a mildly traumatic experience for her on our previous several trips, so I hope this goes better. We've certainly had enough practice.
All went well, and I was able to spend some time at Iwajimaya's, having a couple of humbow and cruising around looking at stuff. One item I was NOT so thrilled to see was a nicely shrink-wrapped package of - pig snouts. Yes, several cut off pig noses, mashed up against the plastic like kids at a candy store window, only they were inside looking out...wish I had had a camera.
The sight badly dampened any desire to buy food.
Later, after we got home, I went for a run and workout. Lovely cool breezy afternoon. On the way home, I passed a moving van with a young tough-looking young black guy standing by, loading or unloading. He smiled, I smiled back and said hi, and he said,"Enchante." What a sweet unlooked for event.
Sweet night time walk with the beloved spouse.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Lost post, lost summer, and "Lost" resumes tonight.
Two walks for Mother, late morning and late afternoon. Good climbing gym workout for me, with a couple of young female friends who perk me up. Painfully lovely day, which ebbed away into chilly cloudiness. My friend and neighbor with cancer is okay, but "grumpy," says she. I say, she's allowed to be grumpy. Another friend and neighbor has a dear old friend who's not doing well with his cancer, and sounds as if he's on the way out of this world. It seems to me we are too young for this to be starting, but perhaps I am deceiving myself about our ages. No, it's too soon. Time to start raging.
"Lost" consisted of a review session, which mashed developments from last season into one long confusingly smooshed blur. The actual starting episode of the new season was all right, but full of many more flashbacks. The voice over by Dr. Jack is dopey. I fear my only little TV perversion is getting diluted and dumbed down.
Big deal, if that's all there is to complain about.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Being very careful...

Last night this blog kept publishing itself, and I don't know why. So I wound up with a bodiless title for yesterday. Today's officially the last day of summer, and it's been a humdingerly lovely one. My friend who's the single mother of two elementary school aged girls called me late this morning to see if I would go over for a climbing workout. Of course I obliged her, and we had a nice session.
Got some yellow chrysanthemums for my mother during a food shopping expedition, and got her out for her 8 block stroll.
Now I'm off to vote.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Dumbass addendum!

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood

First walk, chilly and breezy, only 4 blocks. Then I went over to the indoor climbing gym to strip and set routes. Helped a fellow routesetter figure out the degree of difficulty on his route,
then came home. Lovely lovely sunny and warm, so out we went for the 8 block version.
Finally finished the trimming job across the street, and whacked some stuff in our yard, too.
Uh oh, this thing just published somehow...
What is going on? I wasn't done yet!
Perhaps I should stop whilst ahead.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

More tiredness

Hard to drag ass out of bed this morning, after not enough hours of sleep. T'was worth it to go out last night, but I suffer from lack of sleep.
Last official weekend day of summer, and it served to lift my energies enough so that I could get out for a run and workour. Walked most of the way home, just to soak up the lovely air.
Beloved spouse went out for a paddle, I got my mom out for a second bonus walk.
Again to bed, to plug away at a large book in which I'm intermittently engaged.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Almost furnace weather

Chilly this morning, but we resist cranking up old Nick down in the basement. Time to develop some thick skin!
There was much football watched in this house today. Had to drag my mother away for her perambulations. Quite the role reversal from when she used to turn off our old black and white TV set after Saturday morning cartoons and whisk us outside to play. She does love sitting with my beloved spouse and watching whatever games he's enjoying.
We ran into an elderly neighbor on our afternoon walk who is obese, and after asking how many walks Mother did each day, informed us that she couldn't walk any more, and that she was falling down in her house and having a hard time getting back up. But she hadn't yet hurt herself,"Knock on wood."
Nice dinner, then around 10:00 we went over to the Seamonster Lounge to hear a friend of our son's play guitar in a quartet. Beloved son hadn't made it back from Leavenworth, but we represented for the family, I guess. Thougth we'd only stay for one set, but they were really good, so we didn't leave until almost 1:00. Leader of the group was playing a Hammond B3; we've seen him perform before, he's fabulous. He's a seasoned fellow, and is like the catcher in "Bull Durham" for the youngsters playing with him. They're in capable hands.
Interesting social sidenote: Two women beloved son has gone out with were there, a former and a present. Both very cool people, IMO. Not so sure how it would have been for him had he arrived.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Friday finally

Although in our strange little days, time seems to melt or stand still, sort of like that old "Twilight Zone" introduction Rod Serling used to give. Clocks run backwards...
Two good walks for my mother, adding up to 14 blocks.
A couple of hours' worth of foiling and cutting of my very copious amount of hair. I am now restored to... whatever my appearance is.
My back is still sorish frome yesterday. No fun for me this afternoon.
Beloved son took off for Leavenworth, WA, to go up to Midnight Rock for a climbing session.
Beloved spouse shall return sometime after midnight.
Too tired to read.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Days of beautification ahead!

One down, one to go. Mamacita got her weekly Hairdo Day, I get mine, once every three months, tomorow.
I am so tired from three consecutive nights of lousy sleep. Couldn't even remember when I last talked to my beloved spouse, until he reminded me, most unceremoniously. Something under my right shoulder blade hurts, even when I take a deep breath.
Ran and worked out, albeit gingerly.
Off to bed with a new big book, The Gold Bug Variations by Rciahrd Powers. It looks promising from page one.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

High point of the week so far

Last night I arranged to give one friend a ride to the climbing gym, per our usual time, and to meet another one there. So we three wimmins will be training and having a good time, I hope. These two don't know each other, but I think they will like one another.
Turned out there was a fourth in our climbing party who paired up with the friend I carpooled with, so we elder stateswomen were on our own. A good session, although I attempted a route on toprope that the youngest of our foursome had led, and struggled mightily, coming off not many moves into it and sustaining a painful rope burn on my left forearm, as well as a blow to my energies. Naturally I had to get back on the stupid route, and not even halfway up I finally abandoned it. Well, I remain convinced that even these aborted attempts teach me something.
Back for another walk with my mother, and to savor the perfect late summer afternoon. Our friend's chickens have been molting for a while, and present a most pathetic image. My mother and I offer them words of comfort and cheer.
Once again, into the breach of poor sleep...

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Nice and energizing

After speaking briefly with our son, I went back to bed and tried to get back to sleep. Decided to read more of Saramago's The Cave, then tried again to conk out. Just drifting off when the jealous cat jumped up and started picking on the slightly dim one, right on top of my prone body. Both were launched from the premises! Around 4:00 I eventually lost consciousness. Another night of split shift sleeping.
It's so gorgeous this morning that I can't stay grumpy. Mother and I got in an 8 block airing, lots of action down at the turn-around point with Quest cherry pickers lumbering back and forth, doing something to the wires overhead; fascinating to my mother, who waves to the workers.
Off for a run and workout, despite intense weariness. Temperature rising into the mid 70's, cooling breezes blowing by the lake, the last batch of ducklings mostly grown and sans mama.
Early to bed with a book.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Grimmish sort of morning

Chilly, gray, not promising. But by 11:00 blue started peeking through, and it never precipitated.
I went over to strip and set routes, and it was pleasant and satisfying. By the time I got out of the gym, it was sunny and nice, so I zipped home to get my mother out again.
Pleasant evening, early to bed. I woke up at 2:00, and then heard beloved son come upstairs. He and his climbing buddy had just returned from Squamish, BC, and in the brief exchange we had, I learned they'd had a great time. It'll be fun to discuss it later.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Fall's starting to fall

Chily enough this morning to almost turn on the furnace. However, due to Katrina's aftermath, we should probably try to conserve our gas consumption this fall and winter. Just heard that heating costs for those of us who use natural gas could rise as much as 70%.
Beloved spouse left early on a business trip, and beloved son is still up in Squamish climbing. We womenfolk are hunkered down.
A friend called and said it was her 47th birthday today, and asked if I would come to the climbing gym with her and her two elementary school aged daughters for a workout. Done, and it was good to see her again.
Home to get my mother out for a walk. She perked up and made it a full 8 blocks. Flogged myself to go running and working out, although I feel as if something is trying to get me, a cold perhaps.
I fell asleep reading about 7:30, woke up a coupel of hours later and came down to urge my mother to go up to bed. Done, and maybe I can sleep away the encroaching virus invasion.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Bouncing rain

At breakfast this morning we noticed the rain was coming down hard enough to bounce. Merely an hour and a half later, it had stopped and sucker holes were drifting overhead, nice and blue and beckoning. Out we went for a 5 1/2 block stroll, with lots of straightening, stretching and gentle side to side twisting for my mother's persnickety back, which has been giving her grief intermittently. We decided to keep at intentional posture improvement, since she knows she starts stooping without it. We saw our next door neighbor to the east, back from a walk with her 2 1/2 year old boy. He was wearing a classic yellow rain slicker, wiht froggy boots, and had a pail in which he was putting snails. He collects them seriously, like a little invertebratologist, and in the past has taken them over to the neighbors who have the chickens. The birds come a runnin', rounding the corner of the house in a full sprint, since he gives them the snails to eat; hand harvested free-range escargot - could it get any fancier?
Seattle Tilth had their Harvest Festival today, and I'd forgotten about it until I started walking to the QFC. I zipped right over to the Meridian Playfields and wandered around the organic farmers' stands, getting Yellow Finn potatoes, luscious carrots, three colors of string beans, cranberry shelling beans, and eying the piles of greens, squashes, onions, tomatoes, and other items. Beloved spouse and I collided outside the park, and he went back in for tomatoes while I went on to the supermarket. I'd forego that if I could walk to a farmers' market two blocks from my house once a week.
By late afternoon, the day was lovely and felt freshly scrubbed. Another little walk for Mother, a visit with a couple of friends/neighbors, and back home, where she and the beloved spouse watched a football game together.
A late night walk for us, then off to bed.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Skipping days

Gaahh. All this disaster information, the personal accounts drifting in via alternative sources, since BushCo. is working on censoring the MSM, is starting to swirl around in my head like toxic water, clogged with rotting bodies of people and other animals. Most toxic of all have been the accounts of the Gretna, LA police blocking flood victims from getting over the river to their affluent white enclaves. And the way Missisippi's damage and casualties are being hidden in an attempt to salvage the Republicans in charge of our country, evil fuckers I would prefer to be swirling in the polluted waters left in Katrina's wake.
So I missed a day yesterday - part of it was being upset by my mother having another "spell" while we were sitting on our neighbor's little wall, her favorite resting spot before heading up the gentle incline of what she calls "the final pitch." She didn't completely lose consciousness this time, nor lose control of her bodily functions, but it was seizure-like for a few seconds until I could get her on her back with her feet up. It's so clear to see how old people by themselves can have these episodes and fall to their injury or doom. I've been with her for most of these events. It takes little or no imagination to picture helpless, unattended old people's suffering in the wake of a disaster.
Standing at my kitchen sink, watching dirty soapy water slowly drain, I thought about New Orleans slowly slowly draining. And about a piece in this week's The Stranger, which pointed out that many of the low income folks in the city were not a bunch of welfare cheats, but working poor. And I wondered, apropo of all the rich white folks down there who've expressed delight at the idea of re-building NO sans the underclasses, if they've thought about who's going to be left to do all that servant-like service work. All they coloreds and nigrahs'll be gawn.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Late summer

We made our usual couple of walks yesterday, one longish, one shortish. While passing a small gallery in the small commercial area a few blocks north of our house, the owners invited us in, said they were looking at the paintings for the next show, trying to decide how to hang them. One of the men was in a wheelchair, and turned out to be one of the "mouthpainters" featured in last month's show.
Nice easy session at the climbing gym with a friend. I gave her an announcement for the art opening, and she may join us.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Schoolin' starts now...

Things are getting a bit pointed at our visual site, but if we can avoid name-calling, I think it's healthy. Or at least it has flushed out the Bush apologists. I think, if one can judge from that tiny sample, it is probably true that these people won't be changing their minds about BushCo., not even if they saw live footage of him and his mother kicking dead welfare babies around like footballs. It is appalling, but I am about convinced this Katrina disaster won't make a dent in W.'s support.
However, there are occasional reports from flood victims in LA and MISS, in which they have said, well, I voted for him once, but I'll never vote Republican again. One can only hope this awakening spreads.

Monday, September 05, 2005

No word from the North...

At last I accomplished several consecutive hours of sleep. Still no news from the mountaineering kids.
Walked with mom after breakfast. A chilly morning slowly warmed up. After getting her lunch, we took off mid afternoon to see some musical acts at Bumbershoot. First was a young, energetic albeit not really polished group, Los Amigos Invisibles, who are from Caracas, Venezuela, currently living and working in NYC. They weren't the most solid of musicians, but they infected the crowd with their crazy South American funkified salsa whatever, and had us all jumping and dancing like fools. Hand drummer dude was adorable... Next up was a young soul singer and her group, Choklate. One of her back up singers was a young woman we knew from a group several years ago, as was the keyboard player. Kind of an uneven set of songs, but Choklate has a good voice, kind of a more melodic Erika Badu thing going on.
The third group we saw, Brazilian Girls, took me by surprise as their set went on. I'd heard music from a CD of theirs, and thought it was sort of pleasant "world music" type stuff. Well, they are really solid musicians, and the female vocalist is a fricking kick in the butt. Quite a presence, good voice, and full of wicked humor. One song was called "Pussy Pussy Pussy Marijuana." Um, you had to be there, it was delightful. She then dedicatd a song called "Dance till the Morning Comes" to New Orleans, and it was soulfully trippy. Have to say, she won me over.
There was one more group scheduled, Michael Franti and Spearhead, but we decided to call it a day. We'd been there for five very pleasant hours, and needed to get home.
Around 10:00, the beloved son returned. They got snow up there, but had the good sense to back off about 800 feet from the summit to avoid an epic. The guys were considerate of a third climber who hadn't had much experienc rappelling in such conditions with the exposure you find in alpine environments. Good guys.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Losing sleep

Such a crappy night. Woke up at 1:30, lay there until a little after 4:00, mind buzzing. I suppose I was wondering how the son and his friends were doing up in the North Cascades; the weather report wasn't very encouraging for the late afternoon today. Sure enough, after a nice walk around noon, lunch, puttering about, when I went running and working out the sky was turning threatening in various directions. It looked especially bad up north. Rain had started by 5:00, not heavy but cold.
Beloved spouse retruned from a trip to Ohio for a university marching band reunion game. This was not small potatoes, around 650 fellow alumni participated. His photos were good. There was a 15 month old sort of grand niece at the family gathering dinners, whom it is strange to observe growing in time lapse via pictures. I have not met this little girl yet. She is very very cute, with enormous dark eyes that see all.
Off to bed.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Missed opportunity

Well, our son had a friend over for breakfast, and made a delicious-looking and -smelling omelette for her. They were meeting up with another friend of his to head up into the North Cascades to climb something called Cutthroat Peak, which is near Liberty Bell on the North Cascades Highway. I loaned his friend my helmet and headlamp, and she asked me to come along. We're about the same size, and perhaps she was thinking it'd be nice to have another female along to balance the testosterone. She'd said as much about another outing she was on at Index with some people. The two guys are safe and sane usually, so I think they'll be all right, if the weather doesn't turn on them.
Lovely lovely day, walked with my mother, did stuff around here. Went down to Gasworks Park by myself for a bit of exercise. Fretted a bit about the thundery-looking clouds up to the north east, but it's tomorrow that really counts for the climbing party.
Chatted a bit with folks from the book group, mainly from SC and Bowling Green, Ohio. Good fun.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Everything is politcal

And until we impeach Bush and and his greedy fuckwit cronies, it needs to stay political. No let up, no leeway for this crew.
Got out on a short walk in the morning with Mother. She was really slowed down at breakfast, saying she just felt like something was wrong in her head. I think she may not have slept very well, but she can't usually remember in the morning.
Got over to the climbing gym to set and strip routes, which somehow always feels like a positive effort. There were a couple of fellows there who although very tall, said they liked my routes. One was a friend of Damian, the young guy - not quite 30 - who died last year from cancer caused by drugs he took to hang on to his transplanted kidney. This friend had taken some classes with Damian, and credited him for helping him to learn good technique. True enough - Damian was in your face, in a nice way, about learning to climb well. I try to invoke his spirit any time I'm outside and feeling a bit hesitant as I look at a route. last time I did this it was with my son, who had me get on a crack that was very difficult for me to make headway on. As I stood on a ledge, looking up at this crack that was hurting my hands and feet as I tried to get up into it, I just thought about Damian, and decided to ignore the discomfort. I did get up the crack, it still hurt, but it got done.
Back mid- afternoon, got Mother out on an 8 block walk, and she remarked that her head cleared by the end of it. What a clear testimony to the powers and benefits of walking.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Oatmeal kind of morning

Just cool enough to warrant a bowl of "bloatmeal." Tried some with the little chunks of maple sugar that I got, but it wasn't as pleasing as good old brown sugar.
Off to look for a book for the reading group - no luck -and Bumbershoot tickets for Monday. Those I was able to get.
Walked today with Mother, convincing her it wasn't really "cold" at almost 70 degrees.
Sort of ran to a weight workout, but my legs felt leaden. Well, at least I got out.
Whacked away some more at my friend's overgrown front planting, filling up our yard waste container. No sight of her today.
Am sick over the New Orleans tragedy. No one in the government really cares, to Bush et al it's a way to wipe out a lot of black people who they see as a drain on the economy, people who have to loot publicly and not get away with it as Bush et al have done on a much larger scale. Yet more sickening stuff.
I'm going up to read Saramago's The Cave.